('98-'00) onto number 6 alternator - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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onto number 6 alternator **updated

I bought my 2000 Forester in October of 2014. The car had 100% paper service history.

In July of 2015 I had my head gaskets and piston rings done at a shop in the Portland Oregon Metro Area that I was referred to at 236,500. It has been a nightmare since with the work having to be redone.

In January of 2016 I had the shop that did the head gaskets replace the alternator at 243k miles. They put 3 alternators total under warranty in 18 months.

In 2017 I replaced the alternator the shop put in which were Mitsubishi and replaced with a new Subaru Reman unit. This one lasted the longest at about 16 months

In December of 2018 I bought a NAPA reman alternator due to the Subaru one going bad and I was recommended to just get the lifetime warranty. Each alternator except this current one had when tested had a voltage regulator failure. This current one tested today at Napa just says low voltage.

Should I expect about 6 months from an alternator?

Is this a ground issue (my thought) or is this a pinched wire?

The weirdest thing is that the battery light has never come on. The battery usually tests good with good current, just has a bad alternator with no charging system light.

The shop that did the head gasket work is not going to tough the car again.


Last edited by ryaninpdx; 07-06-2019 at 06:24 PM. Reason: updated
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 04:27 PM
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voltage regulator on most subaru is controlled by the ecu , if yours is, get it checked, often it is bad or weak connections and bad ground by the battery, add a good ground form battery to body

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryaninpdx View Post
<snip>Should I expect about 6 months from an alternator?
A remanufactured alternator should last for years - perhaps as long as a new one. I don't know who NAPA uses for rebuilds but maybe they got a bad batch. Or maybe the rebuilder got a bad batch of regulators. Or maybe there is some confusion as to model - whether the regulator is internal or ECU controlled. NAPA has always been a reliable source of parts for me, but 6 alternators in a row is not a good sign.

I looked on Rockauto to see if Cardone reman's alternators, but they were not a listed vendor for the 2000 Subaru Forester alternator.


2005 FX
2006 FXT
2012 FXT
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 05:49 PM
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I dont know enough of the systems to tell you what the gremlin is, but it sounds like an electrical gremlin to me. I think you've covered the potential for sporadic reman issues.

That said, when I replaced mine, I used a new OEM alternator because I cant risk downtime and get reimbursed from work at $0.55/mi
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 02:39 AM
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Going to a Mitsubishi dealer (!) for a Subaru repair, along with all the others ...

OP, seems like you've avoided going to your nearest Subaru dealer for the repair.
Why not use them this next time? They're surely better than what you've been doing. My $ 0.02
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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voltage regulator on most subaru is controlled by the ecu , if yours is, get it checked, often it is bad or weak connections and bad ground by the battery, add a good ground form battery to body
On my Forester the voltage regulator is in the alternator. I will have the grounds checked.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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Going to a Mitsubishi dealer (!) for a Subaru repair, along with all the others ...

OP, seems like you've avoided going to your nearest Subaru dealer for the repair.
Why not use them this next time? They're surely better than what you've been doing. My $ 0.02
I have not been taking the car to a Mitsubishi dealer. The alternator that was 3x replaced sold was a Mitsubishi branded as some Subarus' were made with them.

I have been going to the Subaru Dealer after the independent Subaru "specialist" and they can never find any issue. They are also apparently unable to do any more major work on the car, as their mechanic they had working on my car retired. So I am now driving an hour to a new Subaru mechanic.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 11:17 AM
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for the price and hassle sounds like it's time to just buy a new OEM one.

https://www.subarusource.com/oem-par...390?origin=pla
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by leland grant View Post
voltage regulator on most subaru is controlled by the ecu , if yours is, get it checked, often it is bad or weak connections and bad ground by the battery, add a good ground form battery to body
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryaninpdx View Post
On my Forester the voltage regulator is in the alternator. I will have the grounds checked.
@ryaninpdx I've never heard of that many failed alternators! No failures on either of our Foresters.

The voltage regulator is part of the alternator, it is mounted internally. The voltage regulator monitors the battery voltage thru lead [2] on the connector, thru fuse #3 in the engine compartment fuse box. Lead [1] on the connector is only used to light the "charge" light in the combination meter... instrument panel. Note that the "charge light" is an incandescent bulb, which can burn out.

The alternator grounding to the engine occurs thru the alternator body, thru the mounting hardware. Aluminum will form a coating that can prevent proper grounding. In addition, all the mounting/adjusting hardware needs to be tight, or proper grounding will not occur.

The earlier models are know to have insufficient grounding, so many member add additional grounding. We did this on our Foresters.
Before adding additional grounding, if you choose to, check the existing grounds.

• Lift off the grounds.
• Check for corrosion, clean if present.
• Coat with dielectric grease, I use NO-OX-ID A, which is a heavier body grease.
• Reconnect the ground. Add a washer &/or lock washer if needed.

I posted the Power Supply Routing wiring diagram on this post in another thread discussion.

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 12:26 PM
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Lots of faults in the charging circuit can toast alternators like that... seems like you're fixing the symptom (bad alternator) instead of the problem (???). I would take it to an shop that is good with electrical and have them check for issues.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 03:08 PM
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When my alternator was giving me problems, I went to my local NAPA retailer to get a new one (and return the core) mainly because it was an easy swap, and the price difference was huge. (Almost half what the dealer wanted).

1st one lasted a week, 2nd one a day, 3rd one lasted two weeks, the NAPA guy insisted it was something else causing the NAPA alternators to die. I went to the Subaru dealer (because i had no reliability) and paid somewhere around $500 out the door for them to "fix" the problem, so with diagnostics and labor, the result was (>drumroll<) the alternator.

When I took the 4th NAPA alternator back (with the dealer work order and bill) I asked him how he wants to resolve this, and his deadpan response was "Well, I guess I should refund your money."

Needless to say I still grumble a little bit when I drive by that place, and I'll never get even so much as a wiper blade from there. ;)
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 03:20 PM
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An aside. I had an uncle had a Buick park avenue that started eating alternators. It turned out to be a bent tensioner arm that was slightly twisting the belt. Sounds bizarre, but a clever 1 man shop caught it. I remember looking at the arm and pulley, looking at my uncle, looking at the arm...

They theorized it got tightened with a tire iron at an angle. That was old school pre serpentine belts. Glad I didn’t do it.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 08:14 AM
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As the post above mine said I would take it to a small older mechanic. Sadly most people that work for larger shops and dealerships are not true mechanics but technicians. They find a bad part and replace them and/or only do what the computer says is wrong.

There have been many things I have heard, found and repaired myself on different vehicles that dealers and repair shops just can’t hear and find. Examples are misses in timing that are just sounding, bearings going out (including on my Forester), and an out of true wheel by the inside measuring 15 inches and the outside measuring 14.78 inches across. The last one shocked the service writer when I had the mechanic that said everything was fine and I measured the wheel with a tape in front of them.

I agree you can get bad rebuilds and thus I like to use new components whenever possible. I also agree that this sounds like a grounding issue. Check your battery and engine grounds. Thank them apart, sand the ground and where it mounts, use grease to help prevent corrosion. You might also need to add an additional ground to the engine.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Could a ground like this one on the motor/trans cause an issue?
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 04:52 PM
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That looks like the main ground (-) from the battery to the engine near the starter. It could be an issue if the connection is loose or corroded. Note that the bracket the ground is secured to uses one of the bolts that hold the engine to transmission.

It's difficult to tell, looking at the picture, if the connection is bad? You might lift off the cable, clean, grease with dielectric grease & reassemble.

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]

'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno stock Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
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